China is demanding that the United States scrap a plan to sell more than 2 billion dollars worth of military hardware, including M1A2 Abrams tanks and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, to Taiwan.
Such a deal violates international law, norms of international relations, the “One China” policy and interferes in China’s internal affairs, undermining the nation’s sovereignty and security, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Tuesday, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.
Under “One China,” the U.S. acknowledges Beijing’s view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan but considers its status as unsettled. The island split from the mainland in 1949 and is self-governing.
“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the US plan to sell arms to Taiwan,” Geng said. “We have lodged stern representations with the US side on this.”
He called on the U.S. to “immediately cancel” the deal before it harms the countries’ ties and peace and stability in the region.
The sale could include 254 Stingers, 108 Abrams tanks and hundreds of machine guns, ammunition and other equipment, according to statements by the Pentagon’s Defense Security and Cooperation Agency announcing the State Department’s assent to the deal Monday. It is worth more than $2 billion.
The move comes as the U.S. and China clash over trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
The U.S. supports peaceful reunification of the island with the mainland but is committed to helping Taiwan defend itself if it is attacked, according to Carl Baker, executive director of Pacific Forum think tank in Hawaii.
U.S. Navy ships have transited the Taiwan Strait eight times in the past year, moves that draw strong protests from Beijing. France and Canada have also sent ships through the strait.